Gatcombe Horse Trials British open championship: Tim Price leads

  • Tim Price rode his Olympic steed Vitali to the lead in the British Open Championship Gatcombe Horse Trials at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing.

    They scored 23 (79.58%) to push Pippa Funnell into second place, in the class sponsored by Magic Millions. Still smart in the first phase, it wasn’t quite a personal best for Vitali at international level – he posted 21.2 at Houghton in May.

    “He’s a super athlete, but we’ve yet to get the full package,” Tim said, referring to the Contender gelding’s slightly inconsistent show jumping record. “Because he’s very smart in dressage, we’re going to be in a good position quite regularly and then we have to find a way to stick to it, but I believe in him. We just have to learn a little more and bring it out of him. I think he will jump a lot of clear courses in the future.

    Tim has been riding Joe and Alex’s 12-year-old horse Giannamore for a year and a half and describes him as a “fabulous cross-country horse”.

    “So hopefully we’ll jump and have fun. The ground is quite good and I think it will be a great fitness run ahead of Burghley Horse Trials as a second five star.

    Gatcombe Horse Trials: Pippa Funnell in double contention

    Pippa produced two excellent tests to take second and third place, with Billy Walk On and Majas Hope respectively. As the highest placed Briton, she put herself in contention for the national title.

    Billy Walk On has confirmed his return to form after a lackluster trip to the Badminton Horse Trials – he finished second at five stars but also retired twice across the country at the CCI5*. Today (August 6) he showed his well-being with a little male in the extended canter, still posting a good score of 24.4.

    “It was just him being happy,” Pippa said of the 13-year-old Walkinshaws. “It’s really very nice of him because he lost a bit of spark in badminton. He himself wasn’t normal from day one, and I don’t know what it was about. But I was pretty happy with his test here – he had some money but I don’t mind.

    Pippa was almost happier with the performance of third-placed Majas Hope after scoring 29.2.

    “It’s good to get a good test on Hope because he was my tough one,” she said. “Not because he explodes, but he finds training very difficult. Mentally, he starts to give up on you saying, ‘I find it hard’, so you have to do things so that he has fun and that he feels like he’s not doing dressage.If you don’t do enough, he’s too cool, but you can’t pierce him or he goes behind the leg.

    Pippa was heartened that even at 15 the horse – owned by herself and Marek Sebastak – is still learning.

    “Every time I take a test, I try something different,” she said. “The difference today was that for the warm up we just pushed him and then I galloped on his back like we were cross-country. It worked really well – by his standards, it It was a good test. We missed a switch because it was a bit too far forward, but the highlight for me was that it didn’t fall behind the leg.

    McEwen and Townend pressure dressage leaders at Gatcombe Horse Trials

    A single showjumping rail covers 3rd through 13th before tomorrow’s showjumping (Sunday August 7th).

    Tom McEwen and Oliver Townend continued their form at this Gloucestershire event to take fourth and fifth place after their respective Evelyn Partners British Intermediate and Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championship wins earlier in the day.

    Tom was fourth on Barbara Cooper’s Braveheart B in 29.6, while Oliver is in fifth with the Chamberlaynes’ Dreamliner in 30.1. Helen Wilson and My Ernie complete the top six with a score of 30.6.

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